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Published: Thursday, 7/18/2013

MARATHON CLASSIC

Walshe leads the field with her short game

BLADE STAFF
Alison Walshe hits her tee shot on 8 during the first round of the Marathon Classic at Highland Meadows Golf Club in Sylvania, Thursday. Alison Walshe hits her tee shot on 8 during the first round of the Marathon Classic at Highland Meadows Golf Club in Sylvania, Thursday.
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Alison Walshe pointed to one particular factor in her opening round in the Marathon Classic today at Highland Meadows Golf Club -- her short game.

Walshe struggled early with her putting but rebounded through the course of her first 18 holes to take a one-stroke lead over Jessica Shepley and Lexi Thompson.

“I three-putted the first hole and thought, ‘oh, here we go again,’ ” said Walshe, who golfed at the University of Arizona. “Then I one-putted the next hole and then I just got my confidence going.”

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Walshe shot a six-under-par 65 today to take the lead after the first round of the LPGA's Marathon Classic today at Highland Meadows Golf Club.

Despite afternoon charges by Paula Creamer and Haeji Kang, Walshe maintained her stand atop the leaderboard after the first round.

Creamer finished the tournament's first day with a 5-under-par 66, despite bogeying the par-4 fifth hole. Creamer enters Friday's second round in a three-way tie for second with Lexi Thompson and Jessica Shepley.

Kang finished in a five-way tie for fifth with a four-under par 67.

The second round of the four-day tournament begins at 7:30 a.m. Friday at Highland Meadows. Becky Morgan, Marcy Hart and Esther Choe will start from the first tee, while Mindy Kim, Lauren Doughtie and Ji Young Oh will start from the 10th tee.

Walshe said she struggled with her putting last weekend in the Manulife Financial LPGA Classic in Wateroo, Ont., where she finished tied for 41st. But in her first round today, she minimized her game.

“I had 22 putts today,” Walshe said. “Some of them were off the fringes.”

Then, Walshe counted off her scorecard.

“And 11 one-putts and a I had chip-in [on the 14th hole],” she said.

Walshe believes her putting will be vital through the course of the tournament.

“Putting is going to be key for me to really get the rounds going,” Walshe said.



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